Our cars: Audi A2 - September

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Audi A2 air-con
Audi A2 air-con
Audi A2 1.4 TDI SE (used)

Week ending September 30
Mileage 31,324
Mileage this week 110

At 5ft 5” I’m not exactly the tallest person in the office – which means there’s good and bad news when driving the A2.

The good news is that, with my driving position, there’s plenty of room for six-footers to sit in plenty of comfort behind me. Some even say there are limo-like levels of room…

However, the bad news is the driver’s seat itself. I have to have my seat set farther forward then most colleagues do, but the seat base ends up rubbing against the centre console. That means the last few centimeters of adjustment are hard work to get right.


Week ending September 23
Mileage 31,214
Driven this week 90

The A2 is full of neat design touches that make the most of the car’s compact dimensions.

Take the car’s kombi tasche (or combination bag in English) that lives in the boot. This natty zipped case houses a warning triangle and first aid kit, and is shaped so that it slides into a specially designed slot just inside the boot.

This means that it’s securely located, yet easy to reach, and doesn’t get in the way when loading or unloading the boot.

Week ending September 16
Mileage 31,024
Driven this week 123

The nearside dipped headlight bulb blew recently, and following a peek under the bonnet and a look inside the owner’s handbook my fears were confirmed. The A2’s compact design means that changing a headlight bulb is a complex job, and Audi recommends that only a dealer attempt the work.

Despite being fully booked for larger jobs, Audi West London (020 8380 4000) squeezed me in at short notice and two days later I enjoyed a cup of coffee while the A2 enjoyed some ‘while-you-wait’ attention. In order to fit a new bulb the whole headlight unit had to be removed, so the job took 20 minutes to complete and the bill came to £45, including parts and VAT.

I can’t fault Audi West London. It must rate as rate as the most enjoyable dealer trip I’ve ever made. The staff were extremely polite, the showroom like a five-star hotel and the car was returned fully valeted. However, it’s an over-indulgence for a seven year-old-car. I might feel differently if I was driving a two-year-old Audi TT, but for my old A2 it’s excessive.

This kind of fault is a pitfall of buying used cars – you’re never sure when something small but significant will stop working. Originally, I was drawn to the A2 because of its ability to pack so much into a small car, but now I’m wondering if the ingenious design is too clever for its own good.

Week ending September 9
Mileage 30,901
Mileage this week 47

This may seem strange, given that it’s been out of production for several years, but the Audi A2 could be the perfect antidote to today’s rising fuel costs and trend for downsizing. With an official average of 64mpg, it’s as economical as many of today’s cars and, at 3826mm, it’s shorter than many superminis yet still seats four adults.

The A2 arrived in the UK in 2000, boasting a sophisticated aluminium structure built in the same way as high-end current Audis such as the A8, R8 and TT. This made the car exceptionally light yet strong, but the A2 failed to impress buyers and went off sale in 2005. That had something to do with its price, which started at £13,150, but fast-forward to 2011 and a used A2 makes a lot of sense, especially in super-frugal 1.4-litre diesel guise. In 2000, a litre of diesel cost about 80p on average; now it’s closer to £1.40, and the Audi’s efficiency means I should save a tidy sum at the pumps.

Finding a used A2 isn’t that easy, though. There’s a decent number of the road, but owners like to hang on to them, so prices stay high. A 2004-registered, 53-plate 1.4 TDI SE is valued at £5000 assuming it’s done 80,000 miles, but at around 30,000 miles, my car is worth £6600. The good news is that the A2 depreciates slowly, so it shouldn’t lose much in value, but what did I get for the money? My SE car has climate control, electric windows all round, an in-dash CD multichanger and stability control, but you can forget about more modern technology such as Bluetooth or an MP3-compatible stereo.

When buying a used car, you can’t always afford to be too picky. I was pleased to find an A2 in Azure Blue, if not one with a light grey cloth interior; it helps make the cabin feel light and airy, but I’m worried it’ll get grubby over time.

Still, I’m impressed with the A2 so far. Its compact dimensions mean it’s great for nipping in and out of traffic, and parking in small spaces is a cinch. It’s also comfortable on the motorway, so it’s nigh-on perfect for my commute. The real acid test, though, will be the car’s economy, and I’m averaging 55mpg so far. That’s short of the official 64.2mpg average, so I’ll be aiming to improve my figure over the coming months.

Week ending September 2
Mileage 30,854
Mileage this week 100

The tiny A2 has proved practical this week, with a spot of environmentally-friendly recycling.

It was time to take my old television down to the local refuse centre but, because it was bought in 1994 and is big and bulky, I wasn’t sure if it would fit inside.

I needn’t have worried. Once I’d dropped the back seats it slid in without any hassle, and there was even room for the stand.

Our cars: Audi A2 - August


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